Lending rates could moderate further: Bankers

Last Updated 17 September 2012, 09:24 IST

Borrowers could see better days ahead as banks are expected to cut lending rates following the RBI's decision to unlock Rs 17,000 crore by slashing cash reserve ratio (CRR) by 0.25 per cent.

Soon after the Reserve Bank unveiled its mid-quarter review of the monetary policy, several bankers hinted that they may reduce lending rates in the coming days.

Commenting on RBI's action, State Bank of India (SBI) Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri said the bank will review its rates in the light of policy decision. The asset liability committee (ALCO) of bank is expected to meet soon to take a view on rate revision.

"It is a very positive move. I think the RBI has given a clear signal that they (banks) are willing to respond and that they (banks) have taken note of the signs of deceleration in economy," Chaudhuri said.

RBI today announced cut in CRR, the percentage of deposits banks keep with central bank, to 4.5 per cent.

However, repo rate, at which the central bank lends to the banks, would remain unchanged at 8 per cent. The reverse repo, at which it absorbs excess liquidity through borrowings from banks, remains at 7 per cent.

Terming the policy action strongly positive for the markets, Bank of Baroda Chairman and Managing Director M D Mallya said as much as Rs 720 crore of additional fund would come to the bank.

The liquidity infusion would ensure adequate flow of credit to productive sectors of the economy, Mallya said, adding that the bank's ALCO would meet soon to take stock of the situation.

Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) Chairman and Managing Director S L Bansal also said that the bank would take a view on the rate revision in its ALCO meeting soon.

"I am of the opinion that there will be fall in the interest rate," Bansal said, adding that the lending rate would moderate further.

OBC has already cut its base rate or the minimum lending rate by 0.1 per cent to 10.40 per cent last month.

According to Central Bank of India Chairman and Managing Director M V Tanksale the CRR cut will infuse Rs 515 crore into the bank.

He said, however, that he did not anticipate cut in the base rate. There could be moderation in certain segments, he added.

Credit growth is expected to pick up during the upcoming festival season, Tanksale said.
On the similar lines, Dena Bank Chairperson Nupur Mitra said the bank will decide about base rate cut in the committee's meeting.

RBI's action will definitely help in the credit growth, she added.

Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) Executive Director A K Bansal said, "We will take a call in ALCO soon taking into consideration liquidity condition and credit offtake."

If credit picks up further from here on, he said, there is a possibility of moderation in the interest rate.

It was not a surprise that RBI maintained status-quo on policy rates and provided a token 0.25 per cent cut in CRR, said Moses Harding, IndusInd Bank head (ALCO and economic & market research).

It was a balancing act with one eye on inflation and the other on the government's action on pushing reforms, and fiscal consolidation, he said.

"The shorter end of the rate curve will benefit the most while medium to longer is expected to stay steady," Harding said.

(Published 17 September 2012, 09:24 IST)

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